Last week was brutal for us data folk who rely on metrics to help inform picks and Vegas stole our lunch money. The lines this week are *hopefully,* a little softer and we can find some value. Below are some of my favorite picks against the spread and over/unders where applicable. Let’s win some money.
NC State (-2.5) @ Mississippi Sate OU: 55.5
This line shockingly opened with Mississippi State being the favorite but has swung the other direction. As a 2.5 favorite, the Wolfpack still aren’t getting the love they deserve. This Bulldogs team struggled last week against a bad Louisiana Tech team. Defensively, they allowed 4.0 yards per rush and currently have a defense ranked outside the top-40 according to ESPN’s SP+.
Meanwhile, NC State brings one of the country’s better rushing duos in Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person Jr, who tore up USF last week going over 7.3 yards per carry as a team. Offensively, quarterback Devin Leary should be able to pick on a weak Mississippi State secondary. On the other side, quarterback Will Rogers might struggle against a consensus top-25 defense.
NC State -2.5 @ -120
***FRIDAY*** UTEP @ Boise State (-26) OU: 56
The Miners are building a very solid program in El-Paso and their 2-0 start with convincing wins makes them a nice bet to cover against Boise State this week. Thus far, UTEP has outperformed expectations for a program that was seen near the bottom of the team rankings. However, QB Gavin Haridson, RB Ronald Awatt, and WR Jacob Cowing have taken steps and this team can score some points. Any time we deal with a spread this large it’s more about crafting a narrative for the underdog in this matchup and the narrative here is: UTEP isn’t that bad.
The Miners have performed like a top-50 team thus far this year with a top-20 offensive unit and a very solid pass defense. Boise State is a challenging opponent and will score points but their defense is not a great unit. They are especially vulnerable in the secondary. With two solid offenses, I think UTEP can put up points and see this game go over as well.
UTEP +26 @ -110
Boise St/UTEP OVER 56 @ -110
Florida (-28) @ USF OU: 58
Florida flashed last week with their quarterback platoon of Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson and will look to do the same this week. USF just allowed 45 points to NC State while getting shut out. Florida is better in every single aspect of their team.
Sadly, Cade Fortin struggled against an inferior Wolfpack defense in week 1. This is a true mismatch and I’m not sure 28 points does Florida justice. The Gators should have a field day on the ground after rushing for 400 yards in week 1, and I don’t anticipate and resistance from the Bulls. USF team that allowed 293 yards on 7.30 yards per attempt.
Florida -28 @ -110
Rutgers (-2.5) @ Syracuse OU: 52.5
The Scarlett Knights continue to be one of the luckiest teams in the country over the last two seasons. Continually outperforming their expected points and turnover margins, I think it catches up with them this week. Syracuse really should be the favorite.
What Greg Schiano has done in his second stint at Rutgers thus far is commendable but the offense is a mess. Noah Vedral led them to 61 points but is unable to move the ball downfield. They had five drives that started within Temple’s 30-yard line. On the other hand, the Syracuse offense performed well running through Sean Tucker and Rutgers can only do so much with their average defensive line. In a vacuum, these teams appear evenly matched but Rutgers luck is bound to run out at some point and I’m betting this is the week.
Syracuse +2.5 @ -110
Texas State @ FIU (-1) OU: 55.5
This game is basically a pick’em despite FIU’s dominant week 1 performance. Texas State is a bottom-20 team in the country and should’n be able to hang with the Panthers. Starting with RB, D’Vonte Price, FIU will be able to run all over the Texas State defense with a front-7 among the worst in the country. Price is a talented back and should have an absolute field day.
To be frank, these teams aren’t close in any model I’ve reviewed. In ESPN’s SP+, Texas State is ranked 113rth overall while FIU is ranked 90th. There is a large enough gap that I think FIU not only covers but wins soundly.
FIU -1 @ -110
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Props given by Alfred Fernandez
***FRIDAY*** Shermari Jones OVER 0.5 rushing TD
The bigger of Coastal Carolina’s two committee running backs should get preference near the goal line. In week 1 he started and received the first 4 carries of the game, finishing with 9 totes over fellow RB Reese White’s 7. Against Kansas where they are favored by over 3 touchdowns, I like Jones to get at least one short yardage dive into paydirt.
Zeb Norland UNDER 1.5 passing TD
Word is that QB Luke Doty is practicing and should resume starting role or at least play some. As long as Norland is dressed but splits time or doesn’t play, this is golden. Honestly, even if he plays all game I still like it.
Brennan Armstrong UNDER 2.5 passing TD
I usually troll the lines for any prop where a player has to score 3 touchdowns to beat me. Three passing scores is just not the norm for most players, especially a dual threat like Armstrong who will run it into the end zone often. He only exceeded 2 passing scores thrice in 9 games last year. They should control this contest vs. Illinois and not need him to pass any more than his average outing.